Thursday, 21 March 2019

Battle Ravens at Salute 2019

All being well, I'll be demoing my shieldwall board game Battle Ravens at Salute on 6 April 2019. I'll be at one of The Plastic Soldier Company's tables.

Even better, they should be selling copies of the game - if you didn't join the Kickstarter, now's your chance to grab it!

If you've previously met me, you'll know that I'm not much one for 'public appearances' - I make games because I enjoy the creative element and I love writing, rather than any desire to become a 'gaming personality' (it really wouldn't suit me!). However, I do promise that I'm quite happy to chat, so if you're curious about Battle Ravens or want to test my memory about any other games I've created, pop by to say hello!

If you're interested in Michael Leck's Rebels & Patriots adaptation of my 'Rampant' rules, he has a table at Salute too. Michael's games always look stunning, and he'll be happy to talk R&P with you! I'll try to swing by myself if I can get away from my table for a short time.

If you're heading to Salute, have fun! Maybe see you there...

Friday, 15 March 2019

Latest rumblings...

Things have been quiet here for a while - my apologies! Part of the reason I've been flying under the radar is that I've locked myself away to work on two on-going projects. Let's just say two words:


And no, they are not connected projects!

We'll see where this goes...

Monday, 11 March 2019

Nerdly reviews Battle Ravens

My shieldwall boardgame, Battle Ravens, is on a ship as I type this - heading towards the Kickstarter backers (thanks if you got behind the campaign).

It should hit the shops in the next few weeks, and all being well, I will be demoing it at Salute in April.

In the meantime, the team at Nerdly reviewed game play; you can read their thoughts HERE.


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Rebels and Patriots publishes today!

Today, Michael Leck's skilful adaptation of my original 'Rampant' rules publishes. I think it's fair to say that if you've enjoyed any or all of the other rulebooks in my Rampant series, you'll enjoy this one too.

By the same token, if you've not enjoyed the others, this probably won't be for you either!

I had some involvement in the writing and development process, making sure that the overall feel of the rules retains the original spirit of its predecessors, but Michael did all of the heavy lifting in this book. Well done my Swedish chum!!

This is the final instalment of the Rampant games... unless one final, juicy plan falls into place. But I won't be doing that unless I feel the balance and tone are just right :-)

Rebels and Patriots is available from your favourite online and 'bricks and mortar' stores today! If you buy the book, I hope you enjoy using it!

(As a tiny side-note, I never intended using the name 'Rampant series' for my rulebooks, but everyone else call them by this name, so over time I've caved in to peer pressure!)

Monday, 21 January 2019

As Dalauppror says: 3 days to go...

... Until our Rebels and Patriots rules publish. My co-author and the project's lead, Michael, has been busy posting about the forthcoming rulebook on his blog which you can view HERE.

There's a Facebook group set up too - I'm told there are for several of my rulebooks although I don't hang out in them myself. But if that's your thing, you'll know how to find it!

As Michael says, thanks to everybody who has helped out with this rulebook, we've really appreciated your input. And if you have a copy on pre-order, I guess you will have the book in your grubby mitts in a few days' time.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fancy buying yourself a post-Christmas festive treat?

Well I usually end up doing so, and I suspect I'm not alone.

If you are going to treat yourself, I'd love it if you would consider pre-ordering one or other of these two:

The good news here is that, even if you buy now, the game won't be with you for a few weeks, so it's not obvious that you're buying your own Christmas gift. Splendid.

Of course, if you decide on something else instead, I won't go all grumpy on you... instead I shall say:


Thursday, 6 December 2018

For news and info on Rebels and Patriots

Even though I've been caught up trying to get one of my games off the ground (Battle Ravens), my co-author on Rebels and Patriots and all round Top Chap Michael has started posting info about our joint venture, publishing in January 2019 courtesy of Osprey.

Michael's taking up the reins on Rebels and Patriots, so please head over to his blog now and in the coming weeks to find out more about these rules:

Monday, 3 December 2018

Battle Ravens Kickstarter ends soon (6 December)

Let me start with an apology... I know I've been posting a lot more than I usually do about my new game; the reason is simple - unlike all of my other games to date, Battle Ravens is being funded through Kickstarter.

This means that the more people who come on board, the more bits and pieces will be added to the published game, that the game is actually produced rather than becoming a 'might have been', and Kickstarter backers get access to some nice additional goodies and a cheaper price than RRP too.

(And the more successful the Kickstarter is, the more likely I am to be able to get my other games published.)

So I hope you can understand why I've been a bit more active on here in the past few weeks.

The good news is that the Kickstarter has funded, meaning that Battle Ravens will be produced. It's currently due to ship in April 2019. More good news is that all Kickstarter backers get an extra army included in their pledge (a Scottish one - come and play at being MacBeth!), and various component upgrades have been made due to the number of backers we've had join us.

The bad news is that the Kickstarter ends very soon: 6 December, at 11am UK time. So if you're thinking of helping to fund the game, now is the time! You can do so HERE.

From my point of view as a designer, I know I'm never going to be able to retire on my royalties - especially from a board game - but I think I've made an enjoyable little game here and would like people to try it and have fun. Even better, your Kickstarter support helps to improve the game's components and you get to save a little bit of money AND grab yourself an extra army. Why, if you're so inclined, you can even pick yourself up a signed copy of my 1066 Wargamer's Guide by choosing the Brunanburh Pledge Level...

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Battle Ravens: Designer's Notes

Battle Ravens is currently on Kickstarter. 

You can pledge for the game by heading over to the campaign page HERE. It ends on 6 December.

I thought at least one of you might find it interesting to read my original designer's notes for Battle Ravens, to set the scene and tell you a bit more about why I've created YET ANOTHER game set in the early medieval period...

(And I've added a couple of photos to set the scene...)

A little over 950 years before I wrote these designer’s notes, plans were in place for two invasions of Anglo-Saxon England: Harald Hardrada’s Norwegian army was to land in the north, and William the Bastard’s Normans in the south. King Harold of England met with victory in the north, but death in the south. So ended Anglo-Saxon England, and shieldwall warfare gave way to the dominance of mounted knights. The battle ravens had flown from the British Isles.

Battle Ravens is my attempt to design a modern game that feels as though it could be played on a medieval gaming board with medieval playing pieces. It is not a game belonging to the tafl family, but this was my initial inspiration as I wanted to try something that allowed me to use my collection of wonderful tafl pieces; they were begging me to pull them out of their box and use them. This edition of Battle Ravens replaces my original tafl pieces with Peter Dennis’s evocative artwork.

I’d been working on a new shieldwall-based game for some time, and frequently visited the British Museum for inspiration from their Anglo-Saxon collection. But the game’s design and development accelerated after a superb trip to Stockholm and Uppsala to meet with a Swedish gaming friend. While there, we toured around the museums, and the beautifully rendered helmets, shield d├ęcor and other weaponry spurred me on to create Battle Ravens.

Shieldwall warfare did not involve a huge amount of manoeuvring, other than to ensure that your army’s battle line had no gaps. Skirmishers skirted around the line, taking opportunistic shots when they could, but battles were really won or lost in the dangerous scrum of the shieldwall, where brute force, measured aggression, a sturdy shield arm, and a little bit of good fortune were as vital as weapon skills. These are all incorporated into your limited choices of action each turn.

In addition to planning and strategic decisions, I wanted to include an element of chance – as the commander of your army, you decide where and in what strength your warriors’ onslaught occurs, but you will not know how well they fight until you roll your dice. Plans for each turn often change on the outcome of a dice roll (whether your own or that of your opponent), so the game is as much about reacting decisively to the changing tactical situation as it is to plotting a strategic plan over the duration of the battle.

The use of dice may seem very old-school to some gamers, and they would be absolutely correct: the number of dice found in Viking Age and medieval archaeological excavations demonstrates their use and popularity in this period, so they’re highly thematic in Battle Ravens.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bedford Besieged! Lion Rampant siege scenarios in WI 374

Here's a quick heads up that the December 2019 issue of Wargames Illustrated includes an article by me featuring ideas for gaming the many small actions that took place around besieged medieval castles. 

I chose to feature Bedford Castle as I used to work near the castle's site, but the article is relevant to any medieval siege. It suggests a simple way to link several themed scenarios, and I've been quite pleased with the way it turned out - I've wanted to do something about sieges for a while but hadn't figured out how.

Buy the magazine to find out more!